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Disability Employment: Schedule A

  • Posted on December 20, 2013 at 10:00 AM

While preparing for my first set of finals for my MPA degree, I encountered an unexpected opportunity for disability employment. The federal government of the United States of America is attempting to increase their hiring of people with disabilities, even people with severe disabilities, with the creation of the Schedule A.

The Schedule A provides excepted authority, which is used to appoint persons with disabilities to government jobs. If you’re interested in this process, you should take a look at this guide. If you fill out the paperwork and qualify for the program, you can seek a government position without facing the usual competition for the position. You will need to be qualified for the position you apply for, though internships and other training may also be available.

There are reasons to work for government organizations, including stability, benefits, and other perks. However, government is in a state of upheaval, so some of the long-regarded perks of government employment may be vanishing. It’s also important to note that my preparations for my finals also revealed that the federal government, i.e. the sponsor of Schedule A, has been losing more workers than they’ve been hiring in 2013. State and local government agencies are only hiring slowly in most areas, and I do not know if any state or local governments have a similar program.

Disability Employment: The Chronic Crisis

  • Posted on December 16, 2013 at 10:00 AM

In November 2013, 68.6% of Americans without disabilities participated in the workforce. Only 19.6% of Americans with disabilities participated in the workforce. Of the 68.6% of Americans without disabilities who participated in the workforce, 6.4% of them were unemployed. Of the 19.6% of Americans with disabilities who participated in the workforce, 12.3% of them were unemployed. This isn’t a lingering effect of the recession. This is a chronic problem that has gone on for years.

If it were any other American minority group, there would be public outcry and a demand for action. Unfortunately, people with disabilities don’t warrant that much attention from the general public. Despite the persistent prejudice against people with disabilities:

  • People with disabilities are employable.
  • People with disabilities can make substantial contributions as part of our workforce.
  • There is no excuse for these discrepancies.

I’m not going to dwell on this. The numbers speak for themselves. But I will return later this week with more information.

Independence: Part 1

  • Posted on July 9, 2011 at 6:21 PM

This past week we celebrated the United States’ independence from Britain. All across the country people celebrated with parades, fireworks, parties and barbeques. My family spent some time with extended family at my in-laws’ cottage. But as we celebrated our independence, I couldn’t help but think about what independence means to my family and the many people like us throughout this country. One thing is for sure, we weren’t the ones setting off fireworks, though there were plenty of them going off around our neighborhood. Just listening to these relatively distant loud bangs and pops or seeing the flashing colors was enough to aggravate my own senses. I can only imagine how much these stimulations irritated my children; though I know Alex and Ben found it difficult to sleep while all of that was going on.

My reflections on the meaning of independence were a bit more basic. What is independence? Why is it so important to people in this country? What will independence look like for my family as my children grow up? What will it look like for each of my children once they become adults? I tried to find a way to fit this all into one post. Obviously, I failed. So, consider these topics on your own and in the next few posts I’ll relate my thoughts on each of these topics and try to pull it all together into some kind of conclusion.

I know that’s not very reassuring, but try to stick with me. It should be an interesting ride!

Statement of Values: Indiana Workers Recommend Dropping Kids

  • Posted on October 27, 2010 at 9:25 PM

Here’s another distraction from bullying:

Indiana’s budget crunch has become so severe that some state workers have suggested leaving severely disabled people at homeless shelters if they can't be cared for at home, parents and advocates said.

It’s all about the budget crunch.  No, really! 

Oh, wait…

But some families have been on waiting lists for waivers for 10 years. The lists contained more than 20,000 names last month, and one advocacy group predicted they will only grow longer because Gov. Mitch Daniels ordered budget cuts that have eliminated 2,000 waiver slots since July.

(emphasis added)

So, is it just me, or does that imply it’s not about the budget cuts at all?  Sure, the budget cuts are making for a longer waiting list because Governor Mitch Daniels doesn’t care enough to find another solution.  But, really?  Waiting 10 years for services.  And this is just becoming a problem now?  I don’t think so!

Budget cuts also have resulted in the state moving foster children with disabilities to a lower cost program that doesn't provide services for special needs and eliminating a grocery benefit for hundreds of developmentally disabled adults.

See, maybe it’s just me.  But I see this and I don’t start thinking, “Oh, Indiana must be really hard-up for cash!”  No, I start thinking that Indiana’s government doesn’t care about people with disabilities.  That—in Indiana—people with disabilities just aren’t worth spending money on.

Maybe it’s just me.  Or maybe…

Maybe environmentally-friendly roads are more important than people with disabilities.

Or maybe holding onto their cash is more important than people with disabilities.

Maybe the election season is just too damned important to give the people of Indiana the services they need to survive.

Some parents said homeless shelters have also been suggested - or threatened - as an option by private care providers.

Daunna Minnich of Bloomington said Indiana Department of Education funding for residential treatment for her 18-year-old daughter, Sabrina, is due to run out Sunday. She said officials at Damar Services Inc. of Indianapolis told her during a meeting that unless she took Sabrina home with her, the agency would drop the teen off at a homeless shelter.

Sabrina, who’s bipolar and has anxiety attacks, has attempted suicide, run away during home visits and threatened her older sister, Minnich said. Bringing Sabrina home isn’t a viable option, but the two group home placements BDDS offered weren't appropriate, she said.

“I don't want to see the state of Indiana hasten her demise by putting her in a one-size-fits-all solution that will drive her to desperate acts,” Minnich said.

Jim Dalton, Dama’s chief operating officer, said he could not comment directly on any specific case but his nonprofit would never leave a client at a homeless shelter - even though it is caring for some for free after they got too old for school-funded services and haven’t yet been granted Medicaid waivers.

“We’re talking about youth that absolutely require services, and no one is willing to fund them anymore,” Dalton said.

(emphasis added)

Really, this isn’t about money, people.  It’s about value—or the lack of value Indiana officials see in people with disabilities.  It's government-sanctioned abuse.  And it’s got to stop!